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Telecom Commission clears TRAI’s framework for Net telephony

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The Telecom Commission has cleared the recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the regulatory framework for internet telephony services in the country. The development allows internet telephony services to be offered by an operator to its subscribers who may be using internet of other access service providers. Telecom Commission (TC) has accepted all recommendations made by Trai except the one which talks about mobile numbering series for such apps, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said after the TC meeting.

TRAI had recommended that mobile numbering series should be used for providing such services by a service provider and that telecom operators should be allowed to allocate same number to the subscriber both for cellular mobile service and internet telephony service.

Sundararajan, however, said that there are some modalities regarding handover of calls at the international gateway that needs to be cleared. TC also cleared TRAI’s clarification that a telecom operator cannot only provide internet telephony to subscribers in its own circle (OnNet), but also when they are in a circle managed by other operators (OffNet).

The regulator is of the view that this will increase call success rate, particularly indoors where public internet is available but mobile signals are not. According to the department of telecom (DoT), the call drop situation is more severe indoors.

Other significant recommendation made by TRAI was the Quality of Service (QoS) norms for internet calls should be left to market forces, but telecom operators must inform about QoS parameters supported by them for internet telephony, thereby helping subscribers make informed decisions.

At present, there is no clarity on how the interconnection usage charge (IUC) works on calls made over the internet. Sources in DoT said that the issue will be handled soon. TRAI’s view is that its recommendations are limited to internet telephony services by telecom operators and since they are handing over such calls to other operators like any other voice call, there is no need for a separate interconnection framework at this stage.

The present regulatory framework for points of interconnection and IUC can continue. However, if any change is required in the interconnection regime, the regulator will issue separate amendment or clarification.

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